Sophia Antipolis, 02 January 2024
*This article was updated with additional details on January 4, 2024.

In Memory of Thomas Haug 

All at ETSI are saddened to hear of the passing on December 9, 2023 of one of the great early champions of European mobile communications. Thomas Haug made a massive contribution to the work that led to the creation of ETSI in 1988, as one of the leaders in the Nordic project for cellular communication (NMT) and Chair of the CEPT* GSM group.

Haug joined the Swedish Board of Telecommunications in 1966, after a distinguished early career in Industry, to lead a joint Nordic project for first generation mobile. The NMT was a success Internationally and most markedly in the Nordic region, from 1981, rising to serve over one million subscribers by 1990.  

Building on that success, Haug pushed on, becoming one of the leading movers in discussions amongst some strong & diverse protagonists about a common European system – which led to the creation of the Global System for Mobile (GSM).

He led the main GSM standardization committees for a full decade, first as Lead of the CEPT Group GSM (1982 – 1988) and then as Chair of ETSI’s Technical Committee GSM and SMG from (1988 – 1992). Friedhelm Hillebrand, Haug’s successor as Chair of ETSI TC SMG paid tribute to him: “Thomas strongly believed and promoted the vision of a Pan-European mobile communication service and system. Progress was difficult in CEPT, as all decisions had to be unanimously agreed by all Western European network operators. His ability to listen to disputing parties, to find a good and acceptable solution and to convince all parties was admirable. Without him global mobile communication, as we know it today, would not exist.”

For his achievements in the joint Nordic project for cellular communication (NMT), also in the development of GSM and in recognition of a lifetime of achievement in telecommunications standardization - ETSI wishes to acknowledge the life and work of Thomas Haug.

We send our deepest sympathies to his family and friends.

Thomas Haug was the joint recipient – with Östen Mäkitalo - of the Gold Medal of the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences (1987). He also received the Philip Reiss Medal from the Federal German Ministry of Post and Telecommunications (1993), the Eduard Rhein Prize from the Eduard Rhein Foundation (1997), The U.S. National Academy of Engineering - Charles Stark Draper Prize (2013) and the IEEE/RSE James Clerk Maxwell Medal in 2018.

Additional information sources:

*CEPT - European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations